Oxford Cultural Leaders programme – applications open for Sept 2021 residential programme – theme: Leadership in times of crisis

Oxford Cultural Leaders, the acclaimed leadership programme for cultural organisations, will be delivering its residential programme in Oxford this September, in a 6-day-long, onsite session running from 26 September to 1 October 2021.   

The programme had moved to online delivery, with OCL Online having successfully taken place in April 2021. But now with the relaxing of restrictions, the residential programme has been reinstated and will run in Oxford this autumn. Applications are now open and due by 5 July 2021.   

Participants of the residential programme will be based in Oxford for 6 days from 26 September to 1 October 2021. During the day they’ll get the opportunity to re-examine their approach to leadership through immersive workshops, lectures, panel discussions, provocations, reflective sessions and keynote speeches delivered by cultural sector leaders, business school experts and industry authorities. Sessions will take place in the Saïd Business School and within Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries and Museums, and Oxford’s Colleges. In the evening participants will stay in accommodation at Corpus Christi College.  All spaces are located in central Oxford within walking distance of each other. Throughout, government guidance will be followed to ensure the safety of programme participants and to ensure spaces are Covid-secure.  

By being onsite, participants can take advantage of the incredible resources of Oxford and the University’s Gardens Libraries and Museums. Critically, the residential course offers the beneficial, in-person interaction that participants really value.    

The programme − now in its seventh year − brings together expertise from the cultural and business sectors to encourage participants to explore how cultural organisations can embrace transformational change through entrepreneurial ways of thinking and behaving. It has developed a reputation as a vital training ground for senior leaders in the sector. 

Designed and delivered by Oxford University’s Gardens, Libraries & Museums in partnership with the Saïd Business School, Oxford Cultural Leaders (OCL) is a unique programme for those working in the cultural sector at Director or senior management level who want to redefine their identity as leaders and reimagine their institutional vision at a time of increasing challenge for the sector.  

This year’s focus will be on ‘Leadership in times of crisis.’ As the sector responds to and works within the Covid crisis, it faces particularly complex challenges that require leaders who are dynamic and responsive and who are able to make difficult decisions, have the confidence to take risks and experiment and bring their teams and stakeholders together in order to steer their institutions successfully through change.  

In seven years the programme has developed a dynamic network of over 100 alumni, working in influential roles across the sector. Alumni come from a range of institutions in the UK, such as the British Museum, National Museums Liverpool, Bletchley Park, Bristol Old Vic, Neon Dance, National Portrait Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, Science Museum Group, British Library, Leeds Museums and Galleries, English National Ballet, Arnolfini Galleries and the Design Museum, and from a wide range of international organisations including, Arts Centre Melbourne, Queensland State Archives, Dresden State Art Collections, from the Agency for Art and Culture, Denmark, the Smithsonian and the Canadian Museum of Natural History. With alumni in 14 countries worldwide, OCL is a truly international programme that gives participants huge scope to learn from others.  

“Covid and lockdown have severely tested arts and cultural institutions, which provides a great opportunity to develop new skills, and even to get rid of bad habits. The Oxford Cultural Leaders programme had a superb track record of developing leaders prior to the pandemic, and it is now building on those considerable strengths to offer a programme truly suited for new times. Good leadership has never been so important in cultural sectors; OCL is the best way to get better at it!” Dr Pegram Harrison, Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship and OCL Faculty Member 

The OCL programme welcomes applications from managers in the museum and galleries sector as well as from across the cultural sector: in theatre and the performing arts, visual arts, music, film, libraries, cultural & natural heritage, tourism, and the creative industries.   

Faculty for 2021 includes: Pegram Harrison, Michael Smets and Nelisha Wickremasinghe (Saïd Business School), Lucy Shaw, Paul Smith, Laura Van Broekhoven (Oxford University GLAM), Caroline Jones (The Story Museum) and  Samenua Sesher (Museum of Colour). 

Applications for the residential programme are now open with a deadline of 5 July 2021. 

Find out more, see the curriculum, and to apply, at www.glam.ox.ac.uk/oxford-cultural-leaders 

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